The government of Eswatini says nine people have died and over 100 others are in hospital following days of pro-democracy protests.
Activists want an end to King Mswati’s decades-long rule by decree replaced with democratically elected leaders.
In the aftermath of violent protests, Eswatini’s capital, Mbabane, is struggling to return to normal.
Days of rioting have taken their toll. Supplies are running low and frustration is high.
“It’s so painful. We don’t have food,” one woman told me.
“The protesters are only asking for one thing: to elect a new prime minister and the king is quiet. I guess he’s enjoying seeing his people starving like this.”
The anger is on a scale rarely seen here. It came after the authorities banned the delivery of petitions.
It was an attempt to silence calls for a more democratically elected leaders.
The security forces deployed to deal with the violence that followed have been accused of brutality.
Activists say the numbers killed and injured are much higher than the official figures.
The crisis in this kingdom has been decades in the making. At the heart of it is King Mswati III and his unfettered reign.
Like his father before him, he has ruled by decree, banning political parties.
The calls for democratic reforms and a constitutional monarchy have been raised for half a century. There is little confidence in the government’s latest response.